Last night was the 2010 Lake Regional competition as part of the national Poetry Out Loud competition. Morris Area High School (MAHS) had two students in the field, Thomas McPhee and Tim Ostby, and Thomas took first place! He and Ellen Ferry (who took second) will be among the 18 students from around Minnesota at the state finals in the wonderful Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, starting at 9:30am, Monday, 8 March 2010.
Thomas qualified for the state finals last year (along with MAHS student Alex McIntosh), so we had the good fortune to attend last year’s event. The quality of the performances was really exquisite, and I highly recommend the event to any fans of poetry and literature in the area.
Tim Ostby (the other MAHS student this year) placed fifth at the regional. Congratulations to him and all the other students that performed last night! While there were fewer competitors at the regional than last year, the quality of the performances was considerably stronger, and the venue (A Center for the Arts in Fergus Falls) was vastly better than last year’s (a classroom at a regional community college).
A huge thanks to David Johnson, drama coach and english teacher at MAHS. Dave’s been a huge influence and support for Thomas in both theatre and Poetry Out Loud. It’s greatly to Dave’s credit that MAHS has had a student in the state finals of Poetry Out Loud each of the last four years (which is every year MAHS could have competed), with two in last year’s finals. Further, every MAHS student that’s gone to state has placed in the top 6: Anika Kildegaard took 2nd in 2007, Mary Hu won the state competition in 2008 and went on to the National Finals, and Alex McIntosh placed 4th and Thomas McPhee 6th in 2009. In fact Morris is the only high school in the state to place four students in the top 6 from 2007-2009, with no other school has placing more than two. Not a bad track record for a small rural high school. Thanks a ton to Dave for all his support and assistance!